Collectively the Travelocity Gnational Gnomad team has more travel experience than any editorial department at the major newspapers and magazines around the world. Our Gnomads have eaten, stayed and visited thousands of destinations, hotels and restaurants around the globe. There is no better body of travel experts on the planet! So, we have asked Gnational Gnomad Mike of MikesRoadTrip.com to work with the team to put together an epic top-10 list of the best hotels in the world. Unlike many lists that are predicated on ad dollars or influenced by other factors, this selection by the Gnomads is based on objective real experiences.
My fellow Gnomads and I visit well over 500 of the best hotels annually, most of them 4-5 stars given our position as top-tier professional travel bloggers. When I asked the Gnomads to tell me about their favorite best hotels, it was a challenge to narrow it down to just one as there are so many stellar hotel/resort properties around the world. The following top-10 best hotels is a bucket list compilation.
ASHFORD CASTLE – IRELAND
Selected by: Eric Stoen with Travel Babbo
Ashford Castle in Ireland is our favorite resort anywhere. It’s a castle, which is remarkably cool, of course, but it’s all of the activities around the castle that make it such a fun place to spend a few days. Falconry is a highlight—walk around the castle grounds and through the nearby forests with Harris Hawks as they take off and fly back to you. There’s also horseback riding, which all of our kids loved, as well as fishing, golf, kayaking, cycling, archery and clay shooting. Be sure to head out onto the lake, and if it’s raining, play a game of chess in the main hall.
If you want to stay at the Ashford Castle, one of the best hotels in the world, click here.
FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS – ALBERTA, CANADA
Selected by: Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal
Most of us grew up loving fairy tales and there are many places in the world that have been the source of their origin…then there’s Banff: a true living fairytale. As soon as I arrived at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, I decided this had to be where Disney Imagineers journey to design their fairytales. My jaw dropped and I was utterly speechless. Enter the lobby and feel like you have arrived at a your own personal fairytale castle with an amazing staff.
All views from each room are outstanding. Your choices include flowing rivers, clouds cascading over mountains, dancing snowflakes to name a few. My fave were the frozen waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. Of course, the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Banff Springs is also just as marvelous and magical. It was inspired by natural hot springs. Their hydrotherapy circuit is worthy of designing your entire stay around. With multiple indoor waterfalls, a healing mineral pool, outdoor hydrotherapy and world famous spa treatments it is a must-do during your stay.
Yes, a fairytale is what Banff is. When one spots a bald eagle flying past a waterfall, one has to imagine that unicorns are real too! If you wish to stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs, one of the best hotels in the world, click here.
MANDAPA RITZ-CARLTON RESERVE – BALI (UBUD), INDONESIA
Selected by: Susan Lanier-Graham of Wander with Wonder
My most amazing hotel experience was at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud, Bali. The hotel sits on a cliff 300 feet above the Ayung River, surrounded by lush jungle. We had a personal butler—a Patih—who met us with cool drinks before escorting us to our villa. She was there to anticipate our every need, and she did. She discovered I love Mangosteens, an Asian fruit, and made sure I had fresh ones waiting each day at breakfast.
We had a one-bedroom, 4,630 square foot riverfront pool villa. It was Balinese design, simple yet elegant. There were floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto a tropical garden and a huge private pool. We had an outdoor shower plus an indoor soaking tub. The hotel also has an amazing spa and restaurant and set up a local guide for us. The blend of luxury and experiences put it over the top.
If you’d like to stay at the Mandapa Ritz-Carlton Reserve, one of the best hotels in the world, click here.
THE COVE – ISLAND OF ELEUTHERA IN THE BAHAMAS
Selected by: Mike & Anne Howard of HoneyTrek
The Cove on the out island of Eleuthera, Bahamas used to be a hippie lodge in a pineapple field, then in 2013 this unbelievable piece of real estate, with its twin beach coves framed in coral cliffs, re-opened as the most beautiful beach resort we have ever experienced. The rock-outcropping that runs down the center of the property and into the ocean just calls to for sunrise yoga and sunset cocktails. The Cove is one of the best combinations of tranquility, luxury and adventurous activities.
The Cove is one of the best hotels in the world, to book a stay, click here.
SAMABE BALI SUITES & VILLAS – BALI, INDONESIA
Selected by: Erin Bender with Travel with Bender
There are few places in the world which leave me speechless. And Samabe Bali Suites & Villas (pronounced “Summa Bay”), is one of those magical places. Samabe is a prestigious 5-star luxury resort in Bali, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and perched high on a cliff overlooking the endless turquoise blue ocean. 81 suites and villas are spread over 8 hectares—all endowed with spellbinding ocean views.
The staff make up part of the incredibleness of Samabe, as well as the all-inclusive option which includes 24-hour butler service, snacks and beverages all day long, daily mini bar replenishment, free flow of juices and soft drinks, fruit platters and afternoon tea from 3 to 5pm. Add on top of that, a divine infinity pool (or three) and an on-site award-winning spa and I never wanted to leave.
One of the best hotels in the world is the Samabe Bali & Suites, to book a room, click here.
EL NIDO RESORTS – PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES
Selected by: Cacinda Maloney of Points and Travel
Although it was rough to narrow it down to just one! Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s survey of readers have voted Palawan the #1 island in the world to visit and I think that the El Nido Resorts have captured the #1 place to stay! I stayed at the El Nido Resorts on Pangulasian Island which offers 42 deluxe accommodations that have Filipino bungalows facing the ocean with outdoor verandas.It is shabby chic with their white-covered patio furniture, flowing white curtains, and their 1000-thread count linens.They have four different resorts to explore on four different islands and all are magnificent. Palawan is every beach lover’s dream destination and it is a magical place to visit, so don’t miss out. The El Nido Resorts in Palawan, Philippines is certainly one of the best hotels in the world that I’ve stayed.
HYATT ZIVA – LOS CABOS, MEXICO
Selected by: Kirsten Maxwell with Kids Are A Trip
Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is the perfect destination because the resort encompasses everything one looks for in a getaway. The moment guests arrive they know they’re in for an experience like no other. The lobby of the resort has breathtaking views overlooking the swimming pools below and the Sea of Cortez beyond. The staff has a smile on their face each time they greet you and no request is too big or too small.
Rooms at this all-inclusive property are spacious and luxurious, decorated with designer touches and spa-like bathrooms and amenities. The property offers ocean-front rooms as well as swim up suites, for those looking for something special. The resort features seven unique restaurants, each serving spectacular cuisine, from the beachfront Italian themed Zaffiro with its wood-fired pizzas to DoZo with authentic Japanese sushi and Teppanyaki grills. There are several spaces around the pool area to enjoy a cocktail or spend time at El Agave sampling local tequilas. When it’s time to relax head to Zen Spa with its plunge pool, aromatherapy, and river stone treatments. Those who prefer to be active will enjoy the four swimming pools (one adults only and one for kids), white sand beach, tennis courts, or nearby golf courses. Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is a dream destination for travelers of all ages.
To book this all-inclusive resort, one of the best hotels in the world, click here.
BELLE MONT FARM – CARIBBEAN ISLAND OF ST. KITTS
Selected by: Angie Orth of AngieAway
It’s tough to choose a favorite hotel in the world, but one that stands out is the eco-friendly, farm-to-table boutique, Belle Mont Farm in St. Kitts. Belle Mont Farm proves that the simple and the natural can be every bit as luxurious as the bells and whistles of the world’s most popular mega-resorts. With individual guesthouses and farmhouses set on 400 acres of fertile land and tropical forest, Belle Mont Farm has all the amenities you’d expect from a top resort – organic toiletries, dedicated service, private pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea – while also giving guests space and time to lose themselves in the magical West Indies.
Belle Mont Farm’s rainwater showers and walls that open to see Mount Liamuiga put you on island time in no time. It’s a restorative place where you really don’t have to worry about much, and for me, it doesn’t get much better than that!
To book the Belle Mont Farm, one of the best hotels in the world, click here.
ARIA HOTEL – PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Selected by: Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com
The Aria is ensconced within a musical theme that is carried through every aspect of the property. Each floor is themed in a different genre of music (jazz, opera, classical and contemporary), with each of its 51 lavish rooms highlighting a different artist within the floors’ musical style. The beds are like lying on a fluffy cloud hugged by 750 thread count sheets surrounded by plump goose down pillows. The Aria is also home to the oldest baroque garden in the Czech Republic and is a stone’s throw from the Prague Castle and famed Charles Bridge. Coda, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant is impeccable, and the roof-top dining (seasonally) is not to be missed! The Mozart suite is a true “presidential” experience, once hosting former President Bill Clinton. The Aria Hotel in Prague is without question one of the best hotels in the world.
Pink Sands Club – Island of Canouan in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Selected by: Keryn Means of Walking on Travels
On an island only three miles long you will find the luxurious Pink Sands Club, where celebrities go to get away from the craziness of life and those looking for comfort and exclusivity can relax and play the day away. Dine al fresco as you listen to the clear blue sea hit the shore, or doze on a massage table in one of the spa huts in the hills. No matter how you do it, a suite at this luxury property in St Vincent and the Grenadines, will leave you rested and looking forward to your next flight down to paradise.
Paradise awaits at the Pink Sands Club, one of the best hotels in the world. Click here to book your vacation.
If you’ve ever stayed at any of these top-10 best hotels, or you have another favorite you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.
Mike Shubic is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Gnomads, visit Travelocity Gnomads.
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